Walking in Bologna

I’m just back from the Up & Running retreat in Bologna. Good times, great gelato! One of the highlights was the Julia Jones Running Festival 6K race on the last day…

I confess I’d been too obsessed with the chatting, the goodie bags, and the pre-race banana supply for our runners to really think about the race part of our retreat weekend. This was great, as I had no nerves or expectations when we arrived at Piazza Maggiore. I was just thinking about what flavour of gelato to choose afterward!

Team Up & Running!
Team Up & Running! Photo courtesy of Clare S.

It was very crowded at the start – heaps more walkers this year, including many stylish Italian dogs and grannies. We could only manage a saunter for the first couple of kilometres.

Love the bandana dog and the couple walking hand in hand!
Love the bandana dog and the matching couple hand in hand!

Initially, I felt really stiff and clunky. I’d slackened off with my training in the second half of my Spring 5K course re-do. Also, I’d abandoned my aging trainers in Sydney to save room in my suitcase but not got round to buying newies, so I was in my gardening shoes (Scottish mud still attached). I felt a bit panicky that I was holding back Clare and Honor, my excellent walking buddies.

Bologna is such a beautiful city
Bologna is such a beautiful city. Incredible cheese and tortellini lurk down these streets!

But then around 2.5 km we smelled cigarette smoke. A streetside cafe? A bustling bar? No, it was the three ladies walking in front of us in their Running Festival t-shirts!

Puff puff puff
Puff puff puff

Is this where you want to be? I thought, Back with the grannies, dugs, and chain smokers?

I pondered that a while as we plodded on.

Around 3km Honor said, “I think we could overtake that lady with the big handbag… what do you think?”

So we overtook the bag lady. Then we overtook the Lady with Two Bum Bags. Then we quietly and methodically picked off a bunch more ladies we gave snarky nicknames to.

By then we had a really nice rhythm going. The killers within had awakened!

I could see on Runkeeper our pace was quite fast for a walk. I felt emotional that Clare and Honor were with me – they’ve long inspired me and I wanted to put in my best contribution to our wee team. It was time to set aside the angsty mind chatter and go for it.

As we neared Parco Montagnola our pace was on fire and I calculated if we really motored, we could sneak under an hour for the 6km. We really powered up the hill back into the park. I was gasping like a gaspy thing, eeking out every last bit of energy. I thought I was going to cark it. It made me realise how much I doddle along without pushing myself when I’m on my own!

Then I suggested we run the last wee bit to make sure we sneaked under 60 minutes. It was hilarious seeing Julia’s face at the finish line as we ran towards her. And we did it! 6.02km in 59:06! We made it under the hour, at an average pace of 09:46 min/km, which is faster than our 2012 pace. I was chuffed considering how slow the first couple of kays were.

Now all you proper runner types out there, please don’t laugh. This is progress for me! There’d been so many ups and downs since Bologna 2012 that it didn’t feel like I was getting anywhere, so it was such a brilliant surprise to see improvement twelve months on.


Still dreaming of this post-race gelato
Still dreaming of this post-race gelato

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

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12 thoughts on “Walking in Bologna

  1. That just looks like SO much fun! Not to mention pretty! Damn lucky Europeans! Why does everywhere look so darn exotic, old, historic and most of all cool. Must. get. self. to. Europe. STAT.

    Love you Shauna!

  2. Well done, you! I’m horrible with US to metric conversions but I know that I have been faithfully walking every day since January 31st and I only just finished 5K in less than an hour over the weekend (in proper running shoes to boot!), so you are officially my new fitness idol. And, of course, I want to crawl through the screen and be able to sit at a lovely Italian cafe to eat gelato as well. (Mmmm, gelato!)

  3. Congratulations! =) Woo-hoo! Honk honk! Great work.

    When I did speedy walking races (typo was speedy talking races =) ) I’d try and hold myself back the first 7 or so miles (1/2 marathon), then around 8 mi. I’d fuel up and zero in on person after person, TAKING THEM DOWN. It’s GREAT fun and really gets your buns kickin’. And frequently many people will burn themselves out early ’cause they were excited by the race, so early on they’d fly past me, then poop out, and I’d fly past them in the end. And that way you cross the finish line really burning up the pavement. SWEET!!

  4. Brilliant job, head cheerleader! I would have loved to have seen Julia’s face! You did it just the right way as well, start out moderately but really gun it at the end. I think you’ve made great progress from 2012, full stop.

    I too got caught behind some smokers at one point….none of them were running, but still! It wasn’t quite what I expected to see at a fun run! 😉 x

  5. Holy moly – you’re a machine! One of those excellent diesel ones that keep going no matter what! The idea of running makes me want to hide somewhere with a cup of tea, so wow! You are a champ!

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